Here, mindset coach Hannah Holt explains how she came to do what she does, and what small changes we can all make to improve wellbeing at work.
Hannah Holt is a mindset coach. In essence, she helps people feel good by taking charge of their own headspace. Her approach is empathetic but solutions focused, helping us to make the most of the day while being kind to ourselves. Having done a series of coaching sessions with our own team at Spabreaks.com, she explained how she came to do what she does, and what small changes we can all make to improve wellbeing at work.
Choosing to make a career change
For a long time my career involved being in a highly stressful sales role, licensing consumer product rights.
I had always had a passion for wellness and often turned to meditation and yoga to support myself through stressful times so I wanted to help others do the same.
I got to a point where I had a lightbulb moment. I was selling something I wasn't passionate about and I needed a change. I took a maternity contract and segued out of that world. I did yoga teacher training and then worked for a yoga start-up, I built my network of wellness professionals and then left to set up an agency.
I was a wellness agent working with different yoga instructors and healers, selling them into corporate companies that were looking for wellbeing programmes.
Now I offer one-to-one mindset coaching and work with businesses to support them in helping their employees with their mental and physical health. Working with meditation and breathwork I am able to give simple accessible tips that can help to enhance someone's day so they feel happier and healthier.
Small things for a big mindset change
Everyday, 90% of the thoughts we have are the same as the day before, so it's about creating awareness and having more control over them. As humans we always live in a state of fear and worry, which means we're not really living at all - we're just worrying about things that haven’t happened or replaying the showreel of all the things that have gone before.
The work I do offers small adjustments to each day to help in being more mindful in everything we do rather than living on autopilot. So we can appreciate the life we do have rather than constantly judging and comparing ourselves.
Survival instinct can be self-defeating
Our mind is the biggest enemy - we love to torture ourselves and we're always striving for what we think it will make us happy but whenever we get it, we immediately want the next thing.
We're hardwired as humans to expect the worst - it's a survival mechanism to focus on the things we need to fear to survive.
I think it’s also quite British - not to want to elevate ourselves, but if you say ‘I feel great’, it immediately changes your thinking. We're all big balls of energy, so we can be radiating it or draining it. By thinking about what we do have it elevates our energy and gives a sense of purpose. We feel energised, content, and happy.
At work it's so important to create a positive environment because otherwise it can sap the life out of you, especially if there are people who want to cause negativity. There's a yogic philosophy that's all about not talking ill of anyone - it's hard to do but if we recognise that we're all doing the best we can, we're all human beings, and it's not about pulling people apart, we can approach situations with compassion on a supportive, humane level.
Stress is like poison ivy in the body - it's so damaging and it's linked to so many health problems. I'm better in myself the way I’m now working, but of course I sometimes catch myself going off on a spiral - it's a journey and you have to practice what you preach.
Top tips for a healthier headspace
There are simple things you can do that don't take a lot of time to make a big difference.
Just stopping and taking a deep breath will immediately bring you into the present moment and boost energy levels.
The first thought of the day
Waking up in the morning and reminding yourself of all the great things in life - the things we take for granted - puts things into perspective. If we have a roof over our heads, food in the fridge and running water, for example. Every morning I list three things I’m grateful for - it takes seconds and it makes the world of difference.
We all think we don’t have time for meditation, but just thinking about three things we're grateful for in this moment is a slow introduction to living mindfully.
10 deep breaths
Take 10 deep breaths before you get up and ask yourself:
How do I feel today? How do I want to feel today?
Who do I not want to be today?
Trying to achieve more awareness about how we feel and want to feel alters our mindset and gives a subtle shift in thought to our unconscious mind which doesn't know the difference between a thought or an imagined thought. So you can imagine your day going just as you want it to and your mind will start to think its possible.
If you think 'I want to feel happy, energised, loved', it helps you to be more aware of those thoughts all day rather than being on the autopilot of stress and anxiety and fear.
A gratitude jar
Something a number of people have taken up, especially with their children, is writing something we're grateful for on a piece of paper and putting it into a jar. Then at the end of the month you can take them out and read them. As humans we tend to focus our attention on what went wrong in the day. This is a good way to refocus on the positives.
Cycling is a wonderful way to exercise, explore new places and get outside. With many spa destinations located in beautiful (and often extensive) grounds, not to mention the countryside beyond, why confine your exercise to the gym when you can use cycle paths and bicycle hire to get out into the fresh air?